“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Monday, January 11, 2016

The Dancing is Over for David Bowie



David Bowie, the Legendary Musician, Has Died at 69

David Bowie performing at a concert in Vienna in 1996. Credit Leonhard Foeger/Reuters

The legendary musician David Bowie has died at 69, according to his publicist.

His death was reported in posts on Facebook and Twitter, and confirmed by the publicist, Steve Martin, on Monday morning.

Mr. Martin did not provide a cause of death, but a statement on Mr. Bowie’s Facebook page said the singer had died after an 18-month battle with cancer.

The multitalented artist, whose last album, “Blackstar,” was released on Friday — on his birthday — was to be honored with a concert at Carnegie Hall on March 31 featuring the Roots, Cyndi Lauper and the Mountain Goats. He also has a musical, “Lazarus,” running Off Broadway.
Born David Jones on Jan. 8, 1947, in South London, Mr. Bowie rose to fame with “Space Oddity,” in 1969, and later through his jumpsuit-wearing alter ego Ziggy Stardust. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996.
In a post on Twitter, there musician’s son, Duncan Jones, said, “Very sorry and sad to say it’s true. I’ll be offline for a while. Love to all.”

Mr. Bowie was married to the international model Iman.

His last live performance was at a New York charity concert in 2006, according to Reuters.


  1. It's starting to feel strange that half of the obituaries are my age, or younger.

    The odds were somewhat against that. :)

  2. Media officials announce liberation of Anbar security department

    ( Anbar – On Monday, khaleyat al-ilam al-harbi to Defense Ministry media officials announced the liberation of Anbar security department in the city of Ramadi and raised the Iraqi flag above its building, while indicated to the destruction of a convoy of 11 vehicles and the death of 35 elements in the ISIS organization.

    khaleyat al-ilam al-harbi to Defense Ministry media officials said in a statement obtained by, “Today, the army’s 8th brigade managed to liberate Anbar security department and raised the Iraqi flag above its building,” pointing out that, “Dozens of ISIS elements were killed.”

    The statement added, “The artillery forces from the army’s 16th brigade have carried out a number of artillery strikes in Asreya area, killing six suicide bombers and wounding two others.”

    “The international coalition warplanes in cooperation with the Federal Intelligence Information Agency have carried out an air strike on a convoy belonging to ISIS and consists of eleven vehicles, destructing the convoy and killing 35 terrorists in Ksayrat area in Anbar,” the statement continued.


  3. Paul Krugman: The Obama Boom

    "The conservative economic orthodoxy dominating the Republican Party is very, very wrong":

    The Obama Boom, by Paul Krugman, Commentary, NY Times:

    Do you remember the “Bush boom”? Probably not. Anyway, the administration of George W. Bush began its tenure with a recession, followed by an extended “jobless recovery.”

    By the summer of 2003, however, the economy began adding jobs again. The pace of job creation wasn’t anything special..., but conservatives insisted that the job gains ... represented a huge triumph, a vindication of the Bush tax cuts.

    So what should we say about the Obama job record? Private-sector employment ... hit its low point in February 2010. Since then we’ve gained 14 million jobs,... roughly double the number of jobs added during the supposed Bush boom...

    The point ... is that ... Mr. Obama ... has been attacked at every stage of his presidency for policies that his critics allege are “job-killing”...

    What did Mr. Obama do that was supposed to kill jobs? ... He signed the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform... He raised taxes on high incomes... And he enacted a health reform...

    1. Yet none of the dire predicted consequences of these policies have materialized. ...

      So what do we learn from this impressive failure to fail? That the conservative economic orthodoxy dominating the Republican Party is very, very wrong. In a way, that should have been obvious. ...

      On one side, this elite is presumed to be a bunch of economic superheroes, able to deliver universal prosperity by summoning the magic of the marketplace. On the other side, they’re depicted as incredibly sensitive flowers who wilt in the face of adversity — raise their taxes a bit, subject them to a few regulations, or for that matter hurt their feelings in a speech or two, and they’ll stop creating jobs and go sulk in their tents, or more likely their mansions.

      It’s a doctrine that doesn’t make much sense, but it ... turns out to be very convenient for the elite: namely, that injustice is a law of nature, that we’d better not do anything to make our society less unequal or protect ordinary families from financial risks. Because if we do ... we’ll be severely punished by the invisible hand, which will collapse the economy. ...

      The ... Obama economy offers a powerful lesson... From a conservative point of view, Mr. Obama did everything wrong, afflicting the comfortable (slightly) and comforting the afflicted (a lot), and nothing bad happened. We can, it turns out, make our society better after all.

      Economists View

  4. SOUTHWEST ASIA, January 11, 2016 — U.S. and coalition military forces have continued to attack Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant terrorists in Syria and Iraq, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials reported today.

    Officials reported details of the latest strikes, noting that assessments of results are based on initial reports.

    Strikes in Syria

    Attack, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 14 strikes in Syria:

    -- Near Abu Kamal, one strike destroyed an ISIL pipeline fitter truck.

    -- Near Raqqah, two strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed two ISIL cranes.

    -- Near Ayn Isa, two strikes destroyed an ISIL bed down location, an ISIL command and control node, an ISIL tunnel and an ISIL vehicle.

    -- Near Dayr Az Zawr, two strikes destroyed three ISIL-used cranes and damaged a separate ISIL-used crane.

    -- Near Manbij, three strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed three ISIL fighting positions.

    -- Near Mar’a, four strikes struck four separate ISIL tactical units and wounded an ISIL fighter.

    Strikes in Iraq

    Bomber, fighter, ground attack and remotely piloted aircraft and rocket artillery conducted 12 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:

    -- Near Haditha, two strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL fighting position.

    -- Near Hit, one strike struck inoperable coalition equipment, denying ISIL access.

    -- Near Kisik, one strike destroyed an ISIL warehouse.

    -- Near Mosul, four strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and an ISIL improvised explosive device facility and destroyed 11 ISIL fighting positions and an ISIL vehicle.

    -- Near Qayyarah, two strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL-used culvert.

    -- Near Ramadi, two strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed two ISIL mortar positions, two ISIL heavy machine guns and two ISIL fighting positions.

    Task force officials define a strike as one or more kinetic events that occur in roughly the same geographic location to produce a single, sometimes cumulative, effect. Therefore, officials explained, a single aircraft delivering a single weapon against a lone ISIL vehicle is one strike, but so is multiple aircraft delivering dozens of weapons against buildings, vehicles and weapon systems in a compound, for example, having the cumulative effect of making those targets harder or impossible for ISIL to use. Accordingly, officials said, they do not report the number or type of aircraft employed in a strike, the number of munitions dropped in each strike, or the number of individual munition impact points against a target.